As always, the 143rd AES International Convention featured numerous seminars and networking opportunities. However, this year’s convention was especially meaningful for the G’Audio team. It was merely a year ago when we presented the end-to-end VR audio system idea at the AES conference, and since then we have returned with upgraded, viable solutions that have been proven in the market. Although we’ve received positive feedback at past exhibitions, it felt particularly great to receive recognition from our peers.
The interest in VR and AR continued at AES New York. Software and hardware solutions were exhibited by numerous companies, including Zylia and SCHOEPS, while VR-related paper sessions and workshops were offered throughout the conference. G’Audio Lab tackled the “Wild West” by sharing our findings and thoughts at the panel discussion on the first morning of the conference and by hosting a workshop every afternoon.
During the technical program session Will VR Be a Game Changer? Challenges and Opportunities in 6DoF Audio, Dr. Henney Oh from G’Audio Lab, Adam Levenson from Krotos and Jean Marc Jot from Magic Leap discussed how 6DoF audio is more challenging than 3DoF. Replicating the room presence aspect of audio is essential for an immersive experience, but Ambisonics is limited by nature. Although it is hard to apply room acoustics, such as reflections, sound source directivity and occlusion, object-based audio remains the best option that currently exists. What’s really challenging for 6DoF is developing the authoring tool that has efficient workflow and can simultaneously synthesize room information in the most realistic way.
The tutorial session at the booth was led by Petr Soupa from the Czech Republic, who is the sound designer at Soundsquare and C-flat. He has been using Works and producing his projects in GA5 format. Petr covered everything A to Z relating to audio for VR, including location recording, post-production and exporting. It’s no wonder the audience stayed after the session to ask him questions. He even shared which microphones and cameras were used, what features of G’Audio Works are especially useful, and what he thinks is important to mix and master sound for 360 video.
We had a blast during happy hour at Littlstar’s headquarter office, even if it was short notice. People continued the conversation with beer in a more intimate setting, away from the bustling convention center. Whether already working in VR, or thinking of jumping into it, VR seemed to be another interesting avenue for creators and distributors alike.
Not to mention conference-goers were surprised to find out how easy it is to spatialize audio for 360 video. Even those who know us well were pleasantly surprised by updated features to the new Works. Positive comments included “bypass spatial rendering feature can be very good for background music while having other sound sources still spatialized” and “It’s very useful that I can monitor both in GA5 and FOA when I’m actually working on Works.” Those who said they would start right away actually came back the next day with additional questions and feedback. Many musicians who visited our booth were pleasantly surprised to learn that Works is an AAX plugin that runs on both HD and non-HD versions of Pro Tools and said they will consider utilizing spatial audio technology to bring interactivity to 3D music.
The highlight of the conference was hearing booth visitors say “I have never believed in true 3D audio but now I know it works.” It is not easy to solve front-back confusion as the industry notes, and most other technology is limited in left to right shift, but our demos proved that the sound can be heard precisely at front and back, as well as from above and below. We will continue to bring the most realistic sound experience possible in VR, so stay tuned for what’s coming next!